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Oh dear...

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by ameliajane, Mar 26, 2011.


  1. ameliajane

    ameliajane PetForums VIP

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    I have a newly aquired 10 yr old collie cross.

    If she has had enough of walking in a particular direction or wants to go a different way she just stops, turns around and runs away. If she's on the lead she just gets slower and slower until we are creeping along and keeps planting and refusing to move.

    I've tried using treats to help with recalls and this has helped to stop her running off - she will come back for a treat - but i seem to have made the slowing and planting worse.

    This is what happens:
    (Off lead) I keep glancing round to check in case dog is going the wrong way or has stopped and is about to turn and run off. If so, i call dog and treat her when she returns. Dog is now watching for these glances and if she spots one she immediately stops and waits for the recall/treat! She is stopping more and more frequently!

    (On lead) Dog slows or plants, i call and treat. Dog is now walking slower and slower, staring at me the whole time, waiting for the call and treat and planting much more frequently!

    I can see how i've accidently made the problems worse but what should i be doing and do i still get points for trying?
     
  2. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Have to chuckle, when the dog is acting too intelligent for it's own real good.

    Collies, can be quite astute and see through the ways we try to manipulate them, into doing something they are not keen on.

    How long have you had her? I'm wondering if you're not totally confident that she'll come and try to find you, if you did press on, why she's off leash at the moment.

    Perhaps you need a bit more time to bond with her, learn fun games, so you can be super confident your Collie x, wouldn't really wander away, so you can call the bluff. You can get double clip, multi-loop training leads to make a handy flexible line length, so a dog can wander or you can "umbilical" with a hands free loop around your waist.

    One time, my dog as part of his teenage phase, tried not coming to the park gates; I opened them, walked through and said "bye bye", which was the end of that rebellion.

    Reinforcing the recall is good, I do it, but I try not to be totally predictable, one time it'll be enthusiastic praise, another a quick game, may be meet someone who's liked, or yes it can be training treat. I avoid recalling too often to, sometimes ppl anxiety call, whilst the dog is still quite near; then when it matters the dog is bored of it and ignores them. If I'm not happy for the dog to nose about at some distance, then it's my mistake not leashing. Moving away and indicating, I'm going on, gets more attention than the traditional recall where you face the dog.


    Perhaps you could do some short training sessions, where you reinforce walking next to you (not behind out of sight) but guide-dog style heel, on or off leash, change the rules. When the dog gets the idea, you reduce the treating and use praise to; gradually extending the time between rewards as she finds it easier. Usually best to introduce new things in somwhere familiar and without many distractions like a fenced back garden.

    If she stops on the lead because she's trying it on (not out of genuine fear for what's ahead or trying to face something catching up from behind), keep your back to her, don't turn round and wait for it to slacken (you may need some patience), then say something like "good girl, let's go" in upbeat way. Stop facing her, calling and give her a treat. When I was teaching puppy walking on lead, then I'd step back, wait for sign of boredeom and do a jaunty step forwards, as I said "let's go!" to get him moving, where he didn't want to go to. An older dog probably won't need or respond in same way to such encouragement.

    PS. Training treats should be small taste sensations, not very filling, and not the larger indulgence type treats sold to spoil the dog.
     
    #2 RobD-BCactive, Mar 26, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
  3. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Has she been checked over by your vet since you acquired her? At 10 yrs old she may be arthritic which would account for the panting and slowing.

    Other than that and as Rob has said, she may just be a very smart collie.
     
  4. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I read "plant" and "planting" ie trying to root to spot.

    Definitely agree about Vet checks on acquiring a dog, even if you only receive reassurance and a worming & anti-flea & tick regime the time is not wasted.
     
  5. ameliajane

    ameliajane PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to cause confusion - i did mean planting, as in stopping dead and resisting attempts to move forward.

    I've had the dog for about a month.

    She has been seen by a vet and does have arthritis for which she has Metacam. I can see when she's feeling a bit stiff or just tired and i let her walk at her own pace at these times.

    She was previously owned by an elderly man. She has had no training but is very calm and sensible. He always kept her on the lead as on the rare occassions she was off lead she wandered off and ended up at the local dogs home (at least 3 times).

    He seems to have taken her the same (very short) routes and it is when we get to the end of one of these routes or if i try to deviate from a route that she stops dead - as though there is an invisible wall. If off lead she will stop and stare, waiting for me to turn around and follow her. If i carry on forward she just turns and runs away, back the way we've come. If on lead she plants and refuses to move any further forward or creeps along at a snails pace, repeatedly planting. She doesn't look frightened, although she does look sort of uncomfortable.

    As i've described, my attempts so far to solve this problem have only made it worse - she now behaves like this throughout the walk - not just at the end of a route! She is doing an excellent job of training me to dispense treats.

    She does not really respond to attention or praise or even wild enthusiam (i've tried!) and she isn't interested in play. Walking away from her doesn't work - she would be quite happy to call my bluff and run off in the opposite direction and disappear out of sight! She doesn't exactly follow me ever. It's more like we both happen to be walking the same route - until i decide to alter it... and i'm quite confident that she would not try to find me - she's quite happy going her own way alone!

    I take your point about letting her off the lead. I do it because i can get her to come back off lead - she's pretty good at recalls now (gets plenty of practise!) and i've done such a good job of teaching her to walk slowly on lead that just clipping it on now causes her to creep along behind me at the end of the lead, staring at me, repeatedly planting and refusing to move without a recall/treat! So walking on lead is very frustrating.

    Thank you for such a comprehensive answer. I've taken on board all you've said and will try the methods suggested.

    Oh, and the treats are very small training treats and i break them in half.
     
    #5 ameliajane, Mar 26, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
  6. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Awww, poor girl, sounds like she's been leading a very boring routine under-stimulating life up to now, but is very lucky to be with you, who is making the effort to work with her, and do something about her problems. Sounds like she's in rather a shell, might be slow coming out of it; though obviously the bitch has good capacity to learn, or she'd not have spotted way to take advantage of the situation.

    Dogs are creatures of habit, even years after moving house they "know" the turning and hesitate as if you were making a mistake, when you take them a different way. It sounds like she'll need time to get used to more vareity and less predictability. It is great that you have been able to train the recall already.

    Personally now that you've said about the dogs home, I would be making a long lead from training lines, anticipating these "habitual routes" to give me more control and prevent her practicing what she was taught (passively) before. That's withdrawing opportunity to go wrong by heading off in her past-owner routine and forcing me to catch up.

    Whilst you have good recall now in most places, it is obviously not solid in those situations, but you can plan for them.

    There's been plenty of comment about this canine capability lately on the forum :)

    If you alter strategy, and encourage her to earn treats by learning new things, even try teaching some gentle games like "Find It!" on your terms, then can avoid being the button that's pushed for a treat.

    She can't force you to give her the treat by stopping, if she learnt that you'ld call and reward her, she'll learn soon enough that you won't do that any more on leash. Outside of a long line practice recall as part of a training session.

    In past for arthritis, it's been suggested to look into local hydrotherapy as a less joint stressing form of exercise.
     
  7. ameliajane

    ameliajane PetForums VIP

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    She does seem very switched off. She is like this with her old owner too. I take her to see him (he's in a care home now) and although he clearly loves her to bits, when she sees him she shows no reaction at all. She will only go to him if he has food for her. He's had her since a puppy so it's really quite bizarre.

    This mornings walk i kept her on lead and ignored the slow walk and stopping, resisted the urge to look at her, kept looking ahead and talking encouragingly and waited until she moved forward. When she realised the treats weren't coming she got a lot worse until we were taking 2-3 steps and then stopping. When we eventually got to the end of her 'route' she added spinning round and trying to dive back the way she came. We managed to get about 30 paces beyond the end of her route (which took about 10 minutes!) and then i called it a day and treated her (hope this was ok..?)

    I tried a short training session afterwards (just a couple of minutes) of keeping her walking at heel instead of behind me. With a treat held at arms length in front of me she was amazing - walked beautifully. I had to stop to give the treats, it was too difficult, for both of us, to do this on the move - hope this is ok..?

    Because she seems so 'dull' i used to think she wasn't very bright but she does seem to pick things up quickly.

    Hope i'm on the right track now.
     
    #7 ameliajane, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  8. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    I think we have all fallen into this same trap at times. I know I have. My Ferdie used to have a habit of lying down half way home and refusing to move. I would throw a hot dog sausage far enough away so he had to get up, we'd move a couple of feet, then he would lie down again and only get up for another bit of hot dog sausage! I got him over this by blanking my mind and just carried on walking; he got up and followed me! Now I have a similar thing in that my two both like to sleep outside in the evenings and don't want to be disturbed when I need to go to bed. So I have been giving them a biscuit to get them indoors. Now, when they want to come in and scratch at the door, I open the door and they sit there waiting for their biscuit! They don't seem to understand that they don't get a biscuit if it is them that want to come in!

    You haven't had him long, and he is used to going a certain way. he possible still feels a bit unsure, so give it time. If he has arthritis, try this supplement:

    Glucosamine for Dogs/Dog Joint Supplement/Joint Aid for Dogs [] - £23.99 : Glucosamine for Dogs, Glucosamine for Horses, Horse Supplements, Horse Joint Supplements, MSM

    I have recommended this so many times people are going to think I am getting commission, but it has been amazing for my newfie for his arthritis. He can run and play like there is nothing wrong with him, whereas before he would start limping after a little run. He is on Trocoxil from the vet, but this supplement has really made a difference to his life.
     
  9. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I meant to actually ignore her, only encourage once the lead goes slack, so you're rewarding (with attention) a small move forward.
    That's why I thought teaching her the walking by your side would be a good idea to replace the current frustrating habits. When she's working on this, she has a way to "earn" rewards she legitimately, without inconveniencing you. And if she's volunteering for duty, then you'll feel a lot better.
    My preference is to do it with a Clicker in left hand, which marks the earnt reward (when dog is in approved zone long enough) and gives me time to pass treats down other hand from palm to fingers to be offered. Training pouches fastened to belt, can help ease things. I try and avoid blatant luring like that, now the dog knows what the Clicker means "Training Time and Treats", he focuses on working out what I want him to do. Guess you do need to lure for a little bit, so she gets the idea what she needs to do, this thread discusses luring & motivation Dunbar Article - Force of Training

    For you obviously without previous experience, I guess the dog needs to make the connection, doing what you want is how to get the treat. Perhaps Clicker would help you, as then you can click and reward, behaviours you like seeing; increasing the vareity of ways rather than have her set on engineering a recall.

    With practice you get better at it, like anything, so in a while it'll be less awkward. Some prefer to simply drop the treats, but I found that had disadvantage if they bounce around, or if a sudden stop is needed to get them.
    I hope that gradually as you teach her new things patiently, that you'll see more spark. One of the reasons people who succeed with Postive-Reinforcement non-aversive methods like it, is because of the bright, happy, uninhibited dogs that result.

    When she does show some trust and warmth, then it will be tremendous. Hope you keep forum informed of progress, and perhaps some of the pro-behaviourists will have direct experience of rehabbing, similar older dogs.

    PS.
     
    #9 RobD-BCactive, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  10. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I have arthritis requiring operating and was advised by podiatric surgeon to take Glucosamine, there's some benefit to some fish oils to but theres a problem then of Vit A overdose building up, unless your diet is unhealthy.

    Whilst such does make you feel better, I would not let a dog on Glucosamine, run and play for too long. It helps but you are lumbered with sore joints later, and as it is degenerative excess is causing unnecessary wear and tear.

    Exercise where the weight is off, tends not to have after effects.
     
  11. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    He doesn't run and play for long, Rob. He might have five to ten minutes, then he will rest for a while. He might even decide that is enough; I let him tell me. Before he started having this supplement, he couldn't even do that much without limping, which did, quite honestly, have me in tears. He is only two. All I know is that he can now jump into the open back door, whereas before it was a long, drawn out process and he was obviously either stiff or in pain.
     
  12. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    2 yrs old ouch! As a matter of curiosity, is that "runt of litter" type problem, or a breed health issue like hip dysplasia?

    Whilst I didn't doubt what you were really doing, I wanted to clarify, just so thread readers didn't see Glucosamine as a magic type cure, rather than something that helps a bit.
     
  13. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    That's ok. I doubt the supplement will do the OP's dog nearly so much good because of his age, but it does help. I know how people can read things and take them the wrong way.

    Joshua is definitely not the runt of the litter. In fact Ferdie was the runt and he is enormous now and with nothing wrong at all. His parents had good hip and elbow scores, heart scans, the lot and he only has two ancestors going back to great great grand parents who are not champions. I was so careful with him when he was growing, but he started limping when he was about 18 months old. He had x-rays after trying some other things and he has arthritis in his front knees. I know they are elbows, but I call them knees and his front legs are arms to me!;)

    It is not unusual in a giant breed but it is very upsetting when he just wants to be a puppy. With his trocoxil and his supplements he does really well and lives very normally, though he cannot walk far. I am not sure whether he is just lazy or whether it is his legs, so I err on the safe side. Newfies do tend to be lazy! Same reason I have to lift him into the car; I don't know if he is capable of jumping in, and probably wouldn't do his legs any good either, so I won't push it. Just have to get someone to help me with him. The vet said not to let him jump out so that he didn't land on his front legs, but he always waits for me to help. That bit is easy, it is the lifting him in which is hard! I am going to try to teach him to get in the side door, as I think it might be easier for him than getting in the tailgate. It is lower and forms a sort of step. We shall see.
     
  14. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    That is upsetting, I have to carry the BC into a car, but just because he absolutely hates going in it, though he's less stressed it seems than he was by a journey I don't think he'll ever be leaping in enthusiastic to go somewhere.
     
  15. ameliajane

    ameliajane PetForums VIP

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    Thanks for the link about the suppliment, newfiesmom. I've ordered some. Anything that might improve her comfort is worth a try. Sadly she has both deformed hips and laterally luxating patella. Vet took x-rays and she was seen by a specialist orthopaedic vet but he said conservative treatment would be best. Since being on the Metacam her mobility has improved dramatically and she looks a lot happier.

    Two more walks today and she is not stopping so much now. If she stops i ignore her until she moves forward and then praise (i think i've got it now!).
    And this evening she 'heeled' 100 yards past her usual stopping point! (with lure...)

    I've read some of the links about luring etc. I must admit some of it goes over my head although i will try the clicker to try to get rid of the very blatent luring. However, as this dog (her name's Floss) is so switched off i doubt she would do anything without food as a reward. As far as i can see the only thing that interests her is looking for food. When she's out walking that's all she does. She is a terrible scavenger. She remains cold to praise, ignores other dogs and shows no interest in playing. Nothing seems to interest her except food and when i have a treat nothing will distract her - it's the only time i see that spark. I'm trying to alternate treats with praise in the hope that this will give the praise some value (will it..?) and i'll try the 'Find It' games - so long as the 'find' is food she'll be keen...

    I really hope she does wake up a bit one day, it's sad to see her so cold to everything.
     
    #15 ameliajane, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  16. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    That's great, I was sure you'ld manage it just needed confidence to persist!
    Well you can asssociate your wiggling fingers with food rewards available to be earnt, so they become a target, rather than the actual treat. How you get her to do something, doesn't really matter too much if you're happy to give hand signal as well as verbal command and stand where she sees you, you'll never be in a formal obedience competition with her :)

    Try happy sounding praise, as you treat; then delay the treat a little.

    If you do try Clicker, and she gets it, by looking for the expected treat when she hears the click, then you know she will understand audible feedback eventually.

    Reworking some stuff, I found it very noticeable, that my dog understands a certain way of saying "yes!", and "good" as well as the clicker, to be success markers.
     
  17. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    that's what I was thinking - panting may also indicate heart problems
     
  18. OllieBob

    OllieBob PetForums Senior

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    She may be mourning. Collies attach themselves strongly to their owner and can have problems transferring that attachment to someone else. Give her time and lots of encouragement.
    Have you tried her with a fluffy toy, squeaky toy or a ball? It's a matter of finding what makes her tick.
    My collie although still young isn't that into playing with other dogs, he has learnt he is allowed to sniff around and savour his walks which even 2 years on is still exciting for him. Not as exciting as a game of football though. :rolleyes:
    I also find that running away and laughing very quickly gets his attention and we have a game of chase, which is good for recall too.
    She may also be generally unfit so will need gradual build up of exercise.
    Give her 6 months and you should see a different side to her. She will blossom eventually. 10 is still youngish for a collie.
     
  19. ameliajane

    ameliajane PetForums VIP

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    She has been thoroughly checked by the vet. The conclusions were: hip deformities, luxating patella, arthritis, partially deaf, chronic ear infections (an ongoing battle) gum disease (antibiotics and teeth cleaned by vet) and overweight. She's been wormed and is on a diet. Heart is fine.

    She had not been outside for about 2 years before i had her because her owner had become house-bound, and i don't think she went out much before that, so she was quite unfit but her mobility and fitness have improved dramatically with weightloss, gentle exercise and Metacam.

    She's just as blank with her old owner as she is with me. She doesn't even acknowledge him unless he has food for her, which is quite sad really because he does clearly love her. He tends to either grab her and hold her in a very tight hug for ages or give her food. He has dementia and if he has always treated her in this way it would explain a lot.

    No we're not aiming for competitions! I just want us to be able to walk places other than the same few hundred yards and back 3 times a day. And i'd like to teach her things to get her using her brain - i don't think she's ever been given the chance before. For all her blankness I'm begining to see that she's actually quite clever. It's just trying to think of things to teach her that will tax her brain but not her body - I wouldn't want to do 'downs' with her for instance.

    I haven't tried a squeeky toy but i suspect she would ignore it unless it smelt of food and if it did she'd eat it!

    Today i have tried reducing the very obvious, treat in front of the nose, luring to more of a hand signal and she got the idea almost straight away! I didn't expect that. Hand signals may be simpler for us than a clicker and as she's quite deaf i might stick to this.

    (By the way, Floss is a Blue Merle, (cross) - found that out from the internet - i'd never seen a dog this colour before!)
     
  20. the thing with Collies they are QUICK learners, and once they have learn something , whether good or bad they remember it and it is said that it is then hard to break!
    Sounds ike she has learnt that is she refuses to go that she will get a treat - for the time being I would STOP training with treats and maybe try praise!
    Not saying I am right - nor if it will work, just a suggestion
    DT
     
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